Laminotomy and Laminectomy

Laminotomy is an effective way to relieve a compressed nerve in the spinal cord. Pressure on a spinal nerve or the spinal cord can cause severe pain in the neck, back, arms and legs. One effective way to relieve it is through decompression of the lamina – a thin, bony layer that protects the spinal canal.

There are two types of procedures, and both are minimally invasive:

  • Laminotomy– creates a larger opening in the lamina
  • Laminectomy –total removal of the lamina

It’s important to note that neither procedure compromises the structure of the spine. The cord and nerves are protected by a bony bridge on either side and covered by muscle and fascia.

At Physician Partners of America Minimally Invasive Spine Group, we prefer performing laminotomies because they are less invasive and often achieve the same results as the more radical procedure.

Among the spinal conditions that may be treatable with laminotomy are:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica
  • Spondylosis (also known as spinal osteoarthritis)

A laminotomy is sometimes used in conjunction with foraminotomy to give the surgeon a better view of the spinal column.

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